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tv   [untitled]    April 7, 2011 12:30am-1:00am PDT

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staffed with just three gardner's. for the last 56 years we have been aided by the support of the san francisco botanical garden society, a nonprofit member- supported organization. the san francisco botanical society only exists to support
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garden operations and activities. since 1995 the organization has supported the city with $9 million in direct gardening expenditures. $6.8 million in educational programs connected to its library, youth program, and volunteer program. on average, the botanical garden society has supported this city, the parks department, and our botanical garden with approximately $1.6 million in services. those services include a program whereby 10,000 school children from all over the city participate in educational programs at the garden each year. overall it will look 30,000 school-age kids visit the botanical garden. taking part in two hours, story time walks, and treasure hunt.
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students learn lifelong lessons on sustainability, conservation, and ecology. in lieu of cuts last year, the department proposed an admission fee. it was not the first time that the admissions chart was compensated, discussed, or propose that the gardens. this goes back about 20 years. many neighbors had passionately resisted admission fees, logically wanting free and unfettered access. last year the department proposed, and this board ultimately approved a compromise. san franciscans would continue to access the botanical garden for free. for free.
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we would only charge non-san francisco residents. $5 for seniors, $2 for children between 5 and 11. the board asked that we adopt a family rate. san franciscans continue to have free admission. again, it gives us no pleasure to charge anyone for anything. when the twist comes down to keep in the rec center open for the families in the tenderloin or charging visitors from lafayette for africa to visit the museums attraction, the decision is clear. almost all comparable botanical gardens charge admissions. for residents and non-residence. including the botanical garden in denver.
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brooklyn, new york. new york city, new york. santa barbara. pasadena. even berkeley charges admission fees. the most comparable garden in san francisco is probably the los angeles county arboretum. municipally owned with similar nonprofit partners, they charge residents and non-residents to enter. the botanical garden in seattle, known as the university of washington botanical garden, is not a municipal facility. another free garden is in washington, d.c.. paid for by congress. chicago, we have a hybrid. that would mission, but charge -- but they charge $20 to park.
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here in san francisco, admission is charged for golden gate park that the japanese tea garden and the conservatory of flowers. in golden gate park but also charge to enter the academy of sciences and other major museums and attractions around town, including the exploratory them, moloch, and white tower. i will turn the presentation over to our director of finance and administration. even with anticipated start of challenges, we expect a gross between $350,000.400000 dollars this year. one quarter of a million dollars. -- $350,000.400000 dollars --
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$350,000 and $400,000 this year. >> as phillips said, i am willing to talk about the framework for the admissions program. staffing. revenue expenditures and attendance. then i will take just a quick minute to respond to the budget analyst report on this item. the department entered into a grant agreement with the botanical society in august of 2010. amongst other things, it required the botanical society to remit all admissions revenue collected to the department on a weekly basis, which they do. under the terms of the agreement, the society invoices the department for eligible expenses.
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invoices include backup documentation by payroll records and copies of bills and are reviewed by accounting staff. staffing for the admissions program includes three fte, a larger number of people, ticket takers that earn $11 per hour, and one of a supervisor burning $14 per hour, as well as a portion of the botanical society staff to provide accounting and financial services for the program. we staffed two dates in the garden, selling tickets from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. in the winter. and 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. in the summer. staffing the admissions program at the conservatory of flowers is less than what it costs the
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department to run the single ticket booth at the japanese tea gardens. if you can see, this slide summarizes revenue and expense and the admissions program to march. through march the program has generated $231,000 in revenue, with total expenses over $166,000. as with other department programs, like golf and the japanese tea garden, admission and revenue numbers at the botanical gardens are sensitive to the weather. as you wallow, the city experienced record days of rain in february and march of this year. it rained for 20 days in golden gate park. depressing attendance at all of park attractions. last week, the department shared revenue figures with the budget
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analyst office based on what can only be characterized as an abysmal month, projecting only $355,922 in revenue through the end of the year. it turns out the first four days in april have been spectacularly beautiful and attendants exceeded all expectations. based on those april numbers, projections through yesterday look like the garden is on pace to grow $380,000 in total revenue this fiscal year. as you can see from this chart, in order to ensure the department and the city has $250,000 in debt revenue, the botanical society has agreed to absorber any net negative costs in the current fiscal year. unfortunately, they will be
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unable to do this if the fis sun sets in the current fiscal year. the goal is next year, as projections show, there would be no need for subsidization. current year revenue projections are based on the assumption that we will hit between 45,050 thousand paying visitors by the end of the year. visitors include all san francisco residents, groups, and kids under four, likely exceeding $125,000 this year. next year we are projecting nearly 77,000 paid visitors to the garden. of course i have read the report. i have to thank him and his staff, who were very professional and thorough in their work on this item. i just want to address three key
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points that the report raises. first, the department agrees with the recommendation that we have a written agreement with the botanical society to govern all aspects of the admission program. while we do have a grant agreement with the society, it is meant only as a temporary measure. the goal, should the board not eliminate the feed, is to negotiate a revised review that eliminates all aspects of the admission program. secondly, the department does not agree with the budget analysts finding that the admissions fee is particularly expensive to collect. costs are in line with of the conservatory of flowers and similar to what we spend on the japanese tea garden. . the department strongly believes
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that revenue projections are not unrealistic and are well grounded. projections rely upon a strong marketing plan for the garden and a complete year of admissions, including the month of july, the peak month for visitors to golden gate park. it is our experience that visitors ship to attractions with fees rose significantly over time, as demonstrated by the slide. i think that it is important to note that if the board moves to eliminate the feed in the current fiscal year, the budget will be protected this year by the supplemental appropriation. however, next year we will face a $250,000 deficit in our budget.
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supplemental, while appreciated, is it one time source of revenue to support an ongoing revenue budget. we implemented the botanical garden program last year in the face of a 20% reduction to our general funding support. as a finance officer, frankly as a san franciscan native that loves this city very much, it is my job to minimize service cuts while balancing my budget. as you know, the department is on an ongoing quest to find sustainable sources of revenue to minimize cuts and stabilize our operating budget. i truly believe that this feed, charged to non-san francisco residents, meets that goal. we are now happy to answer questions. supervisor chu: thank you very much for the presentation. let's go to the budget analyst for the report.
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>> madam chair, members of the committee, on the bottom of page 9 of our report, we state that the department projects non-san francisco resident visitor fees will generate $542,000 in revenue in 1112. these additional revenues would be offset by budget administrative costs of $2,846, with an estimated that revenue in fiscal year 2011 in the fire department would be $337,219. revenues accrued to the r p d general fund budget.
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on that point, supervisors, in their submission to the mayor for the budget for 1112, they did not use that 337. they used an amount of $250,000, which is $87,000.200 $19 less than what they are -- $87,219 less than what they are projecting. when you look at the net and you see what the department has advised us that they submitted to the mayor, it is in fact less than what they projected. on page 10 of our report, regarding file 11013, is that ordinance is approved, the estimated collection date for non-resident visitor fees is may
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19, 2011. we estimate that under that file, 11013, it would result in revenue earned totaling $116,000.863, offset by not having to reimburse the san francisco botanical garden society, for the balance of the fiscal year, resulting in a total net estimate of $143,000.445. therefore the subject requested the general fund reserve appropriation exceed the estimated amount needed by $51,731. on the bottom of page 10, we state that has shown in table 5 and page 8, the san francisco
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botanical garden society projects non-resident visitor fee revenue, a projection by the botanical society, it will total 355,000 by 92. budget administrative costs of 21058. in other words, as shown in table 7 on page 11 of the report. in fiscal year 2011 in both cost 59 cents in administrative expenditures, $1 for non-san francisco residents. they state that if you compare that to the conservatory of flowers and the japanese tea garden, it is in line.
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which is irrelevant. we are making a flat statement. supervisors asked us to look at the conservatory of flowers. no matter how you slice it in our professional judgment, 59 cents collection to administer $1 is high. if the board of supervisors approves the file and extends the non-san francisco resident visitors feed, this ratio of administrative cost revenues is expected to decrease, resulting in reduced costs, earning each $1 in revenue. that is, however, based on revenue projection that we
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consider to be optimistic. i will get to that in a minute. right now i do think that it is our judgment that that $542,355 is highly optimistic. that projection was made in a combination with the society and our pp, working collaborative lee, as we were told. it would be an increase over the collaborative projection. that is the revised and reduced revenue projection. as you know 35592 is reduced downward two or three times. up somewhat from 355 to 387 if i
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understand what i heard in the testimony. it is a valid point, if non-san francisco resident visitor fees are extended, it would be in place for an entire 12 months as opposed to the approximately 11 months of this fiscal year. and the botanical garden society would engage in a campaign with local health that -- local hotels and visitor programming to increase attendance. rpd and the society are administering based on the agreements, concurring with the recommendation. instead of right now, where there is a situation where they
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have agreed to reimburse the society as shown on table two, page 5 of our report. also, to subsidize the cost of administering the bed -- visitor fees in 2010-2011. these kinds of items should be codified. the department does concur with our recommendation. our recommendation on page 13, the first is for the board of supervisors to approve ordinance 110255. we recommend steps there is a request for the botanical society costs to be reimbursed under all future entered -- entities. putting that in writing and
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discontinuing the practice for any future grant agreements. we consider approval of the ordinance file to be a policy decision for the board of supervisors. given the cost of the revenue increase, as well as the high cost of administration, we recommend that if you approve the other proposed ordinance, file 110103, we recommend that it be amended to replace the date of march 17, 2011, with the effective date of the ordinance. we also recommend that in the ordinance to reduce the requested appropriation. as i stated, it is the estimated amount needed to keep the budget
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in balance. of course, we consider the approval of the growth ordnances to be a policy decision for the board. in this particular case because it would use general fund monies to be allocated to the department and replacing that with the existing feed. i would be happy to respond to any questions. >> supervisors? let's thank you, madame chair. -- supervisor mirkarimi: thank you, madame chair. thank you to everyone on all sides of this issue. this is not an unfamiliar story, struggling departments and chronic deficits for years in sentences go. department staff is tasked with doing the best they possibly
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can with a limited amount of dollars. this plays itself out in the kinds of budget discussions we have from year to year. sometimes it comes down to where our concerns lie, not just in the present, but the future. i had been consistently opposed to this feet. to say that we are not strong advocates for the rec and park desire to reach to dollars as spent, dollars that they should be able to generate for the programs near and dear to the hearts of our constituents. sometimes because some of these strategies are creeping, and they are not comfortable with the front door or the back door, or any kind of warm and fuzzy presentation that happens to
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suggest that this is just no other road to take and an inevitability. but a city like san francisco must take it because other cities have fallen prey to that kind of rationale. i am not saying they're wrong in that. in saying that we are changing a dynamic force that affects a certain apartment, unlike any other department in the city, except maybe for public safety, that whether you are rich or poor, many people forget that we have our pockets of poverty. people finding it difficult to live because of how cost prohibited it can be here. at least we allow all populations to enjoy our assets and that is what is indigenous to san francisco, the natural environment around it, passing
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by to help certainly manage that. i think that they do a good job. i hate to see the shrinkage of programs or any kind of on doing to the protection of our environment. that equitable access by people that have a hard time gaining access, because of how sensitive it is to live in san francisco, to have another barrier erected. miss patricshionhi, if she could come up. you might want to use that microphone. we have gone through four in the last couple of years, but now we do have a pilot in itself. i heard the response from the back and park department.
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something that i asked the controller way back when, it was not clear to me >> the society is reimbursing the department for nonmember entry into the gardens. >> walk me through that. i need to understand that a little bit better. >> well, i believe that president society members would be allowed for free and into the garden. non resident society members are allowed for free and the society it reimburses the department for that cost. >> the ordinance that had called
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for the creation of this pilot, there is no mentioning. i'm trying to understand and i asked the comptroller for some understanding on how that was adjusted in that relationship with the botanical society to be able to call back to the city the fee for the non-residents. can you explain how that is done? >> i think this is an issue that was raised during the initial hearing a year ago. typically, the membership benefits helped to fund the programs and services. they are actually happening in the garden. there was nothing explicit in the legislation last year or in the grant agreement that allowed nonresident members free access to the garden, the
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society has been reimbursing us for the cost. >> the data has been crunched. what constitutes people who are actually gaining access into the gardens and we have no per figurehead as to what that equates to. >> i think under the current arrangement there is no distinction between being a non resident member of the botanical society or not.